Model Question and Answers for APSC | The interlinking of rivers can provide viable solutions to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods and interrupting navigation. Critically examine.
Ans : The purpose of interlinking the rivers is to join the Indian rivers through reservoirs and canals. The aim is to shift water from surplus river basins to deficient ones thus solving multidimensional inter-related problems of floods, drought and navigation simultaneously.
1. Interlinking of rivers through reservoirs and canals spreads water spatially and temporally, from areas of
excess to deficient ones and times of floods to arid times.
2. There are areas in Brahmaputra valley which flood during the monsoon and lack drinking water during dry periods.
3. Ganga and the Brahmaputra region can get rid of floods that come every year with the help of this project.
4. The irrigated land will also increase, thus income security for farmers and fishermen while ensuring Drinking water security
5. Round the year Navigation: As it would address the low levels of water in southern India’s rivers, it would provide around year waterways connectivity. This will reduce the cost of transportation & levels of pollution and help in economic development.
A Viable solution:
1. The interlinking of river project is a massive Civil Engineering project involving Hydrology, slope and topography requiring huge money
2. It may also involve deforestation, displacement of people. Moreover, it would harm many ecological factors like Delta formation, growth of mangroves, and aquatic life.
3. A huge amount of energy may be required to lift water from a surplus basin to transfer to a deficient basin at a higher elevation
4. Perennial Rivers Are Not So Perennial: A new analysis of rainfall data reveals that monsoon shortages grow in river basins with surplus water and falling in those with scarcities.
5. The spirit of federalism is ignored in the river interlinking project. Historically, there has been dissent on the part of the state governments regarding water sharing. For example, as evident from the ongoing disputes on rivers like Cauvery, Mahadayi.
6. Tensions With Neighboring Countries Bangladesh being a lower riparian state is less likely to agree to India’s interlinking project.
Thus it is clear Interlinking of rivers has bright prospects in terms of flood and drought management and navigation, but given the economic, political, and environmental implications, it may not be a wise decision to carry out this project at a centralized national level. Instead, interlinking of rivers may be pursued in a decentralized manner on a case by case basis, and more sustainable ways like rainwater harvesting should be promoted to mitigate floods and droughts.